TP Countdown Day 28: The One Armed Man

As our story progresses, we see the ensemble that makes up the cast of this small town drama continue to spread. New faces appear even as familiar faces become connected in new ways. This episode we’re introduced to Norma’s husband Hank, currently in the slammer for vehicular manslaughter – but not for much longer, as we’ll learn by the episode’s end. Hank makes his parole, thanks in part to Norma, who seems pretty torn about the whole thing, what with her wanting to divorce Hank and finally hook up with her true love, Big Ed.

Meanwhile, we get a new nefarious connection, this time between Leo Johnston and Ben Horne, who comes to Leo to set fire to the Packard Mill. Horne’s plan is to frame Josie for the arson so he can purchase the property super cheap. Leo’s plan seems to be to just make a few bucks, presumably to buy a new sports car. It seems worth noting that Leo may not be the most trustworthy criminal associate – he murders one of the Renault brothers, which seems kind of a harsh sentence for having a shitty French Canadian accent, but Leo’s gonna do what he’s gonna do. Though he and Jacques Renault may be in some trouble now that Bobby’s stashed Leo’s bloody shirt in Jacques’s apartment, just moments before Agent Cooper and the rest of his police entourage arrive. Pretty stellar timing.

But before we get too distracted with all that, we should talk about the guy who’s important enough to be in the title of this episode: The one-armed man.

Phillip Gerard is a shoe salesman. He has one arm. He’s also the man who appeared in Cooper’s dream, along with his buddy, Killer BOB. Unfortunately, when Coop tries to question him about these details from his dream, Gerard doesn’t have anything useful to say. He doesn’t recognize the police sketch of BOB (which Andy drew at the beginning of this episode, taken from Sarah Palmer’s description of the man she saw in her vision). Gerard lost his arm in a car accident, and while he had a tattoo on it, it read Mom and not Fire Walk With Me

Gerard is understandably flustered and confused through all of this, after the police kick down his door as he stands in the middle of his hotel room adorned only in a towel. “Keep your hands where I can see them,” says Sheriff Truman in a wonderfully, intentionally funny moment.

Now while Gerard may not know the BOB of the police sketch, he does know a Bob Lydecker, who’s just about the best veterinarian in these parts, so of course Coop and Co. decide to head over to investigate. Cooper sends Deputy Andy into a nearby convenience store to buy some twine – which, it turns out, is the exact same brand of twine used on Laura – then heads into the vet’s office. Following an unintentionally funny moment with a Llama, Coop decides to seize the vet’s records, convinced that the animal that attacked Laura was treated at this vet.

The animal, by the way, that we now know is a bird thanks to Albert Rosenfield’s further investigations. We also learn that the chunk of plastic in Laura’s stomach is likely a poker chip from One Eyed Jacks. As the the police work their way through Lydecker’s files, Coop gets word that Albert has narrowed down the bird type to two – parrot of myna bird – just as Andy makes an exciting discovery: A myna bird name Waldo is owned by Jacques Renault. Coincidence? Not in this town.

My all-tie favorite Twin Peaks character is introduced this episode as well, but since we only experience the voice of Gordon Cole – as played by none other than David Lynch himself – I’ll save discussion of that for the episode when he arrives in town.

I also haven’t gotten around to talking about An Invitation To Love – the meta-textual soap opera within the soap opera which seems to want to comment on or at the very least hint at certain things going on in the world of Twin Peaks. But I think I’ll save much discussion on that for another time, though it’s interesting to note that it seems to be playing at a story involving two identical sisters just as Maddie Ferguson – doesn’t she look almost exactly like Laura Palmer? – comes to town.

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